Unit Manager Elizabeth Mosquera fills us in on the 'Engaging Diverse Families Award' granted to Community Renewal Team's (CRT) Locust St. Early Care and Education Program by the National Assoc. for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Q: What does it mean to your school to receive this status from NAEYC?
A: Our goal at Locust Street, and in all of CRT's Early Care and Education programs, is to look at the "Whole child" including the family that is raising them. This award validates our efforts and our dedication to involve parents from an early stage, so that parents see themselves as essential educators and motivators in the lives of their children.
This is not an annual award; there are only ten programs in the country that received this commendation for successfully engaging diverse families in their children's learning experiences. We set the tone with exemplary educational practices that successfully encourage and validate family participation in their child's life regardless of the currently economic challenges.
Q: How do you feel as unit manager about this status?
A: I'm proud of my entire staff, and of where we are today. The award has validated that our quality services are being nationally acknowledged and this increases our responsibility to move toward ever-higher standards.
It is exciting to see how our program's families are collaborating in meaningful ways that maximize their children's educational experiences. The award gives our staff and families confirmation that all the energy and coordination they have invested - through their active volunteering, participating at the school and partnership in the classroom - really does make a difference. In fact, it is so powerful and extraordinary that we are recognized nationally. Finally I believe that with hard work, dedication and with team work between staff and families anything is possible.
Q: What do you hope to see in your school's future regarding engaging diverse families?
A: I would like to continue to increase the number of families engaged in our center who actively participate in meetings, trainings etc. to improve the lives of families and children and to make our program not just one of the 10 nationwide exemplary programs, but to be the Number 1. It is imperative that all early childhood programs examine and improve strategies for developing trusting partnerships with the families that they serve.
I want to also see members of our families become more involved in advocacy groups both at the state and national level as it relates to funding, resources policies etc. for Early Care and Education.
I'm looking forward to continued and future successes regarding engaging diverse families as each adult involved in a child's life is vital to that child's success and the community at large. Parents input and their point of view is essential to establishing and maintaining a high quality and standards as we have been honored with today.